SMWS 33.136 Halcyon tarfest

Posted 21 September 2018 / In Ardbeg
The Dramble reviews SMWS 33.136 Halcyon tarfest

Bottle Name: 33.136 Halcyon tarfest

ABV: 57.1%
Distillery: Ardbeg
Bottler: Scotch Malt Whisky Society
Region: Islay

SMWS Ardbeg always sells out in double-time. This one will no doubt do the same. It's a10 year old that’s been matured in a 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel. Peated profile

Nose: Intensely earthy and farmyard – soils, lichen, mosses and wet hay. There’s a real sense of oiliness on the nose – engine rooms, greasy gears and lubricated machinery. It’s joined by light rubber, pine needles and smoke that’s surprisingly tender and natural – akin to charred logs on smouldering soils. Water adds tartness in the form of citrus and grapefruit juices and sweetness from sugared peels – sweet and sour.

Taste: What was once tender is now ashy, pronounced and deep. Intense peat smoke – burning logs and forest fires provide a smoky backdrop for candied sweetness and ham hock meatiness. The peat runs throughout the development, becoming chalky and ashy in the back palate, with hints of coal dust and bitumen. The addition of water brings some frutiness to the fore – citrus and stone fruits – both slightly sour and tart. It also presents us with some minerality – crystalline, chiselled and sharp.

Finish: Medium to long, with intense ashy peat, and limestone.

The relatively gentle nose on this 10 year old Ardbeg is a trap – there’s a ton of intense smoke and char unleashed once on the palate. Part inland fire, part dirty paddle steamer – this a treat for fans of both the cult distillery and of powerfully peated whiskies in general. Regardless of my review this is bound to sell out in a flash, so move quickly peat fiends.

Score: 88/100

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